5 Easy Tips for Making a Satisfying Salad

Salads not squashing your hunger? Here are 5 tips to make a hearty salad that leaves you feeling good and satisfied!

Creating the best salads—ones that play with colors, textures, flavors, and even temperatures—sounds difficult, but it’s easy! We’ve got five tips that will help you create delicious and enticing salads every time.

1. Set the tone with a great base.

Using both crunchy and leafy greens sets your salad up with a good mixture of textures and flavors. For some crunch, throw in sliced romaine, iceberg lettuce, or thinly sliced cabbage or Brussels sprouts. For leafy greens, add arugula or baby spinach. Red leaf lettuce, endive, butter lettuce, and kale work well, too. Finally, mix in a grain like brown rice or quinoa for extra fiber and protein.

2. Create your flavor profile with veggies. 

Choose vegetables that excite you and tie the dish together. For example, corn, tomatoes, zucchini, cilantro, jalapeño and lime creates a Mexican-inspired salad. Or, for something Asian-inspired, combine cabbage, carrots, scallions, and ginger. You can roast some veggies with salt, pepper, and olive oil, too, to bring out their natural sweetness.

3. Keep your dressing light and simple.

While you may have a store-bought favorite dressing, vinaigrettes are customizable and easy to make at home. Use a 1:2 ratio—1 part vinegar to 2 parts oil—of any type of vinegar and oil you like. From there, add in flavors you love like garlic, shallot, spices, dijon mustard, and even honey for sweetness.

Wash and dry all your salad ingredients (a vinaigrette won't cling to wet produce). Then dress your salad, tasting as you go to achieve the right flavor balance. You can also marinate all the salad ingredients (except the greens) with the dressing. This mixture can be a salad on it's own or you can add greens before serving.

4. Make it satisfying with protein.

Adding protein will make your tasty salad more fulfilling.  If you have leftover meat in your fridge, like chicken or fish, this is a great time to use it up! Want a plant-based option? Try canned beans or hard-boiled eggs. Fresh avocado adds a filling and creamy component.

5. Get colorful with your ingredients.

It’s true: naturally vibrant foods contain higher levels of certain nutrients and are linked to specific health benefits. So don’t be shy about adding beets, carrots, and yellow peppers. Aside from making your salad beautiful, these textures and flavors will keep you coming back for more. Then top your salad with a sprinkle of sunflower or pumpkin seeds for added crunch.

Pro tip: Prep ahead

Washing and drying your ingredients takes time. Instead of waiting until making your salad, try to rinse and dry produce right after you get it from the grocery store. For lettuces and herbs, use a salad spinner or leave them out to dry on a paper towel. Don’t chop your veggies yet. Simply re-pack your dry vegetables with a dry paper towel in a resealable plastic bag or plastic wrap until they’re ready to use.